We voted on Sunday. No fanfare, no lines, just drove to a ballot drop-box outside a city fire station near the site of what was once Al’s dad’s pharmacy. A bottle of hand sanitizer sat atop one of the two drop-boxes there. Only the polished red fire engine, parked inside the glass-windowed garage, watched over us as we deposited our Massachusetts ballots. It felt good.
I never debated whether to vote in person this year. Given scleroderma, I have no desire to expose myself to more Covid risk while standing in a long line or from handling shared marking pens (we still do paper ballots here). We’re very fortunate in our fair city to have easy access to ballot boxes at all fire stations, City Hall, and outside polling places that are now open for early voting. Others are not so lucky, and options, more limited—a serious issue that I hope will be properly addressed long before the next presidential election.
Still, I admit that I missed the thrill I get whenever I have voted in an election, especially for the president. There is just something so powerful about fulfilling that sacred act of citizenship. I always like to watch the number of ballots cast increase by one as my paper ballot is sucked into the ballot machine. I like getting my “I Voted” sticker. I like feeling part of a civic action that is so essential to our democracy.
But this year, in so many ways, is different. So I will take joy, instead, from the serendipitous rainbows that scattered across my ballot before posting this weekend, when sunlight briefly refracted through my crystal pen holder. I captured the image with my phone camera just as it looked like my pen was shooting optimism. I’ll take that as a good omen.
Here’s a great resource for voting information throughout the U.S. If you haven’t yet voted, please make a plan to vote this year and follow through. With only two weeks to go, we all need to step up. The future of our democracy is on the ballot.
Patricia Bizzell says
I feel exactly the same way about voting in person, Evie, and David and I did that Sunday at Nelson Place School. There was no standing in a long line. People observed social distance, sanitized their hands and picked up a sanitized pen on entry, and filled out their ballots at stations widely spaced apart. I don’t have the health challenge that you have to make me extra cautious, but as you know, David and I are over 70 and he is diabetic, so we do have some risk factors. We felt quite safe.
We are taking additional risks on 11/3 because we have volunteered to be poll workers. I felt the need to give my sacred duty as a citizen a little extra attention this year. We have already had our training, so I can tell you that, unfortunately, we cannot require voters to wear masks. We will have them to hand out and will urge an unmasked person to take one, but it’s their choice. However, in addition to the sanitizing and safety measures we saw at Nelson Place, I am told that on 11/3, we will have two workers at our polling place who will do nothing but cruise with disinfecting products and treat each voting station after every use.
I am grateful that you and Al did not let your health challenges prevent you from voting. I hope everyone will do as you have done and make a plan to vote that they are comfortable with. It’s never been more important.